Tag Archives: canal boats

A stroll along the Crinan Canal, Britain’s most beautiful short cut.

On the last day of our holiday in Scotland ,we discovered the serenely beautiful Crinan Canal. Often described as ‘Britains Most Beautiful Short Cut’ , the waterway was completed in 1801, as a quick link between the West Coast and Islands and the Clyde Estuary. The 9 mile stretch of canal vanquished the need to travel round the coast of the vast Kintyre Peninsula, a very handy short cut indeed. 😁

After noticing a sign for Crinan near the village of Slockavullin, where we were staying, we decided to go exploring in the car. 15 minutes later and we found ourselves in this picturesque wee harbour village. It is here that the canal enters the Sound of Jura.

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Crinan village harbour.
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Watching the world go by, as Hugo keeps an eye on the cake.
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A pleasure boat sets out for a cruise.

The quayside is an ideal spot to sit with a coffee and watch the world ( and their beautiful boats) go by. Queen Victoria herself took a trip up the canal in 1873.

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A moorhen hitching a lift. 🙂
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Interpretation boards along the tow path tell the waterways history.

We decided to take a short stroll along the tow path, keeping Hugo on lead, as he is prone to jumping into canals given half the chance. The beauty of this walk, the wonderful watery views! On one side you have the calm Crinan canal, and on the other, the coastal vistas of the River Add Estuary.

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Duntrune Castle looks out toward Crinan. It is said to be haunted by the ghost of a handless Piper.
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Rosebay willowherb turning fluffy.
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Sleepy Duck.
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All aboard!
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Lock and Keepers Cottage.

Our short stroll took us past several boats negotiating the locks. It feels rude to stop and watch though. I’m sure I would get pretty flustered if I had a crowd eyeing my every move! In days gone by the Crinan Canal saw sailing and fishing vessels pass through, as well as Clyde Puffers.

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Fraser MacIver on his roof.

We soon came across a man fixing his waterside cabin roof. I am pretty sure he is the artist who uses the colourful caravan below as a studio.

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Artists studio.
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Art Honesty Box. 🙂

I helped myself to a leaflet that says ‘ Canadian artist Fraser MacIver has lived on the Crinan Canal since 1997, taking inspiration from his canalside environment; as well as from the beautiful surrounding Argyllshire countryside’. I left money for a couple of pretty painted postcards.

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Scabious on the estuary side.

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Has anyone ever explored more of the Crinan Canal?

Would you be tempted to try a canal boat holiday?

Skipton WaterWay Festival.

Today I decided to do the touristy thing and caught the bus to Skipton. This friendly Yorkshire market town is known as the ‘Gateway to the Dales’ and was holding its annual  Waterway Festival over the Bank holiday weekend. The Leeds and Liverpool canal meanders through the town. The festival celebrates all things argie bargie. 🙂

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I must admit though that the first thing I did when I got to Skipton was hotfoot it to my fave place to eat. The kooky Cake Ole in the Craven Court Shopping arcade served just what i needed for breakfast. Please look away now if you have an aversion to Peanut butter or Jammy dodgers!
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Getting back to the festival,  I decided to experience the wonder of the waterway for myself. 🙂  I hopped onto one of the Pennine Cruisers for a quick thirty minute canal cruise. It was a pleasant enough experience and only cost £4. We kept getting quacked at  by annoyed ducks who do not like to share their domain.

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I also had a quick wander round the Kennet which is a Short Boat apparently. Built in 1947 it  is one of the last unconverted boats that worked on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal. She is now a travelling museum and turns up at various waterway festivals round the country.

Cabin area in the Kennet.
Cabin area in the Kennet.

What was most fun about the festival was that there was a Nursery Rhyme theme and most of the boats took part. See if you can recognise any of your old favourites….

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There was live music and other stuff going on too. And the sun was shining !  Messing about on boats seems a pretty fun thing to do. 🙂

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What did you get up to over the Bank Holiday?